If you drive in New Jersey after drinking and you are stopped by the police, you can be charged with a DWI, or driving while intoxicated. If you are stopped by the police, you will be asked to participate in several tests to allow the police officer who stops you to determine whether you are impaired. If he or she believes you are, you will be arrested for DWI. Once at the station house, you will be asked to provide a sample of your breath to test your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). If it is over .08, it is clear and convincing proof of your drunken driving. Achieving a .08 BAC is easier than most people imagine, and in many instances, while you may think you are “fine” to drive, you are over the legal limit.
A conviction for DWI in New Jersey carries stiff penalties. A first offense will carry penalties including a heavy fine, mandatory attendance at the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center, and a mandatory loss of driving privileges. A second conviction carries with it enhanced penalties and a longer loss of license. A third conviction carries with it a mandatory prison sentence. Failure to provide the police with a sample of your breath carries with it the distinct offense of failing to take the breathalyzer test, which carries an additional set of penalties, fines, and driving privileges loss.
In 2007, the New Jersey State Legislature enacted a new statute of DWI in a School Zone, which carries enhanced penalties. This statute is applicable whether school is in session or not; you can be stopped at 3:00 AM in July and still be charged under the statute. DWI in a school zone carries enhanced penalties, including doubling the period you lose your driver’s license.
New Jersey has changed the breath testing instrumentation throughout the state from “Breathalyzer” machines to the new “Alcotest” machines. The new machinery is the subject of much debate at this time, and because of this, you need competent attorneys who understand the ever-changing landscape of DWI law in our state. Mr. Quirk can assist you in your DWI case, wherever in New Jersey it occurred.